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Playing Around: Less Than Jake



Recently a friend of mine, a musician no less, admitted to me that he does not dance. Not that he can't, but he won't. He simply doesn't feel the need. This concept -- not dancing -- is entirely foreign to me. When you are presented with a funky bass line and a randy guitar on a satin pillow of keyboard melodies, it's ... it's just weird to refrain from dancing. It's repression, it's denial, it's plain puritanical self-punishment.

Some types of music tend to draw even the most stoic of non-dancers into -- at the very least -- a head nod or shoulder dip more than others. The worldbeats of Paul Simon, for instance, are masterful at getting a crowd to sway, and Bela Fleck's cosmic bluegrass can shake the masses' asses like nobody's business.

Ska, with its punk beats and spastic horns, is exceptionally proficient in the art of inducing the peer-pressured hip-shiver. Some ska bands are more adept at bringing on the dance than others, like the highly skilled Less Than Jake.

Lately the quintet has become less than ska but more than punk, adding new member and baritone sax player Pete (no last names here) to up the horn power. Still, like a 12-year-old boy who's lost his Ritalin, Less Than Jake is action-packed. There's some serious talent blended in with all that energy, in the form of those screaming horns laid up against vocals and a drumbeat that makes you want to throw your body up against a wall, just to get the urge to move out of your system.

Less Than Jake plays the Colorado Music Hall on Wednesday with New Found Glory, Anti Flag and Teen Idols. Bring all of your boring, rigid, beatless pilgrim friends and go check it out; they'll be moving by the end of the set. Tickets are $15; call 800/965-4827.

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